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Greetings alumni, students, and friends of the SMTC!
It has been a pleasure to serve as the Director of the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center for the 2012-2013 academic year. I have had the opportunity to visit with faculty, principals, and superintendents in Albany, Fremont, Natrona, and Washakie counties this year, and I look forward to visiting several more school districts next year as we roll out new research and professional development opportunities. SMTC faculty and affiliated faculty are involved in about a dozen research and training grants. Several recently funded projects that have the potential to impact K-12 students in Wyoming include Math Science Partnership Grants from the Wyoming Department of Education: Flooding the Fields with Problem-Based Learning (Jennifer Forrester & Elizabeth Flaherty, Co-PIs) and Place Learning and Civic Engagement (Kate Welsh, PI). Foundation grants include the Halliburton Foundation (Sylvia Parker) and Sigma-Aldrich Foundation (Jackie Leonard). The College of Education also has a $1.2 million dollar Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant pending from the National Science Foundation. This grant will support students’ engagement in computational science and robotics at 10 middle schools in nine counties across the state. Twenty faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education under the leadership of Evert Brown, Andrea Burrows, Linda Hutchison, and I collaborated to submit four proposals to the National Science Foundation to fund the Robert Noyce Scholarship program. If funded, the Noyce program will provide scholarships for University of Wyoming STEM majors to obtain teaching credentials.
In addition to funding, efforts are underway to address school district needs in regard to understanding the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Ana Houseal, Pete Ellsworth, and I have been meeting with associate superintendents, curriculum directors, principals and teachers to plan professional development opportunities to improve STEM education in Wyoming. Building these relationships with school districts and assessing the success of our programs are my priorities in the 2013-2014 academic year.
The SMTC welcomes your visit this coming fall as we host the 2nd Annual Visual Arts of Place Exhibit and a mathematics seminar where I will be the guest speaker on the topic: The Nexus of Critical Race Theory, Place-Based Mathematics Education, and Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice. Please let us know how we can serve you better. We are open to your suggestions and feedback.
Jacqueline Leonard, Ph.D.
Professor & Director, SMTC